PRIDE 2016 // SEOUL, ROK07:42:00
Yesterday we went to celebrate equality, love and diversity at the Korean Queer Festival in Seoul. We arrived at the event just outside the city hall and were immediately greeted by hundreds and hundreds of Christians and police men. Seriously, the amount of police that was present that day was insane and I had never seen so many police men in one place before. Not even back home at football games like Werder Bremen versus HSV. It was crazy especially in a Korean context.
This was the 17th KQF held in Korea and the motto for this year was
Korea is extremely conservative and I was truly surprised and amazed by the amount of people - and especially the amount of actual Koreans, not waygooks (kor. = foreigners) that showed up. Everyone was so friendly and nice. Sometimes big parades with lots of people can be quite scary and give me anxiety - depending on the cause people can get very emotional. The organization of the parade was really good though and we felt really safe at all times. There was enough space and you could easily walk next to your friends without having to fear to lose anyone.It was so beautiful to see same-sex couples being able to publicly hold hands or kiss - you hardly ever see that happening here. Especially for gay guys it's tough here. Holding hands between girl friends is a very common thing and you will often see Korean girls do it but when you are a waygook people will definitely think you are gay. In general, people don't really express their love openly in this country. I think I have never seen Koreans kiss each other in public... (maybe when going out, yes, but not on, lets say, a Sunday afternoon in the park - it's a no no). The dorm I live in at Kyung Hee University has signs up everywhere that say that extensive love expression is not tolerated...
There are a bunch of LGBT bars in districts such as Itaewon (homo hill) or Hongdae, though. If you want to read more about this check this Queer Nightlife Guide by QueerKorea.